Let’s pray together: O Lord our God, you have called all those who bear the mane of your Son to serve one another and the world around us by the works of faith and love. Renew our zeal for the tasks you have given us, that we may serve the coming of your kingdom, through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Here I am! And I have big shoes to fill, big shoes. Rick Klarmann has done such a tremendous job serving as lay director these past two years, it’s just incredible. We had several weekends and have expanded our horizons. We were published in The Monitor and we have been on the radio! We have funded two weekends and looking to do a third. What accomplishments! Applaud.
When I first got to work with Rick I found him to be a teacher, coach, guide, supporter, true friend. I also knew him as holy, gentle, kind, understanding and loving. We worked so well together, I would tell Rick we were like bread and butter, peanut butter and jelly. And it didn’t matter who was the peanut butter, we just melded. I could not have picked a better lay director and a better person to work with. Being Rick, he would tell it like it is but in his own gentle, kind way. I still remember asking him what I would do at School of Leaders if a speaker didn’t show up and he said simply, “You go to plan B.” I asked him what was plan B. He said, “You are plan B.” That’s when I realized I needed to have a backup in my back pocket just in case. And sure enough, it happened. And we got through it, together. Thank you, Rick, for that.
I am also so grateful to Rick for all the prayers and the 59 day novena said over the last few weeks for me and secretariat. What a beautiful, prayerful, loving gift! What could be more cherished? What could be better than prayer? Thank you, Rick, for that, too.
Rick, you are an incredible individual but an even better Catholic, an awesome cursillista. I can only hope to continue the ministry and to be as devoted, caring, hopeful and energetic as you have been. All of us here are grateful and thank you for your service. Applaud.
But time moves on and here I am. What a journey it has been for me! Twenty years s it has been since I made my weekend, yes, it was 1997. Did I think then for one second I would be up here today? No, not at all.
Since that time, I have experienced many changes, many joys, sorrows, too. I have made friends and lost them. I have expanded my family while leaving others behind. I have felt truly blessed and I have felt discouraged, hopeful and frustrated, love and sadness.
All of these emotions are experienced by everyone sometime in their lives so I can’t really say I had an extraordinary past twenty years. But my reactions, my responses, my attitudes, to these moments I had in my life were different; they were unusual, they were extraordinary, all because of Cursillo. Cursillo, you say, made the difference? Why would a three day weekend and a few meetings with fellow Cursillo friends make that much of a difference? But it did!
Because of Cursillo, I was closer to Christ than ever before, knowing what my life on earth is meant to do. I had purpose, and I had understanding. I knew what God had called for me to do: to act like Him as best as I could and to spread the work of Him who sent to me so that we all may profit from His love.
It was different because I not only knew what God wanted from me; I was willing to give it. I was surrounded by people that didn’t abandon you at the first sign of adversity, that didn’t say let’s get together but never do, that say if you need anything ask, but are not available. I was now part of a group that made a difference, got involved, helped each other, worked together, prayed for each other and truly loved one another unconditionally.
Because of Cursillo, I was able to handle drastic changes in my life: sickness, work, loss of family, all with an attitude that it is Christ’s will and He will get you through it. I felt safe, secure and loved. This was evident in the responses I received from my cursillistas. In Cursillo, you are never alone. Cursillistas are like angels that come to help you, attend to you and comfort you in your time of need. And they never give up, they never stop caring.
Because of Cursillo I felt a greater joy than ever when I was blessed: retirement, new house, health and grandchildren. I felt so privileged, so joyous that God would give me so much in so many ways. The joys stayed in my heart and they were shared with fellow cursillistas who were not jealous or envious but so happy to see good things happen. The joys became infectious and lasted long after the events became the norm.
Because of Cursillo I experience life differently. I am aware of my surroundings. I am amazed at God’s work in everything I see. I share along with my fellow cursillistas their trials and hopes and successes and I rejoice in their lives, knowing that God has his hand in everything. I have a new appreciation for the surprise of each new day and how can it bring me closer to God. I reflect often on my fellow cursillistas and how they are coping with their tasks and I pray to God for them.
In this, another milestone in my life, I can only ask as Pope Francis did, to pray for me. May I be your worthy servant in this task that I am truly blessed, honored and privileged to accept.
This short article from author Jeannie Ewing sums up how I feel as the Cursillo Lay Director:
In the spring, a female robin began building her nest on our neighbor’s porch, within view from our kitchen. My husband, two daughters, and I followed this little bird’s journey into motherhood as she patiently and diligently sat on her nest for weeks without much respite. Finally, her eggs hatched, and the full-time feeding frenzy began.
My oldest daughter, Felicity, squealed in delight as the fluffy baby robins stretched their necks and opened their beaks for food. Mama and Daddy robin were rotating the feeding schedule, and we were privy to the details that God provided for us.
Within two weeks, the four young robins, spotted and red-breasted, seemed eager to fly. They practiced flapping their wings, and the girls and I were certain on a few occasions that we’d witness their departure from the nest. Suddenly, the birds were gone, and we’d missed the entire pivotal moment.
Later that day, I saw a quote that reminded me of the family of robins. “What if I fall?” Oh, dearest, but what if you fly?” The robin family reminded me of my own vocation to motherhood – waiting, learning, changing, and letting go.
Everything in our lives has the potential to evoke fear or hope in us. We may fall, but we may fly. What we risk by trusting God during the growth spurts of life is what we gain in heaven. If we don’t step into the unknown and risk failure, we will never know if we can fly. Don’t be afraid to fly.
So how do I feel now? I’m ready to fly. Are you with me? De Colores!